Google Down the Line!: 2009-05-31

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Letter to DtL readers: No posting

Hey guys,

I have to leave town because of a family emergency and won't be posting. Enjoy the rest of Roland Garros for me.

And, as always, thanks for reading.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

PHOTO OP: ...and it still may not have been enough

It was always going to take more than some new fangled racquet-copter for Andy Murray to defeat Fernando Gonzalez on the red clay of Paris.

The third seed was defeated by his Chilean foe, even eating a bagel during his 6-3, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 loss. Although on paper it's an upset we knew Gonzo was the better clay-court baller going into this match in all ways - movement, strategy, and experience. He'll face Robin Soderling, who demolished Nikolay Davydenko 6-1, 6-3, 6-1, for a spot in the big final.

Well, I finally got ONE of the boys' semifinalists right. Is it too much to ask to make it 2 outta 4 Fed?

(image: getty)

Uncle Toni talks with Spanish radio, rips "pretty stupid" Parisian crowd

Toni Nadal lambasted the Parisian crown at Roland Garros during an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

The uncle + coach of top baller Rafael Nadal was none too pleased to hear how little the Parisian crowd was supporting the 4-time defending champion:

In an interview with the Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, Toni Nadal said there was some truth to the phrase: "There is only one set of supporters that is worse than the French and that is the Parisians."

"They say it themselves and it's true, the Parisian crowd is pretty stupid. I think the French don't like it when a Spaniard wins," he added. "Wanting someone to lose is a slightly conceited way of amusing yourself. They show the stupidity of people who think themselves superior."

Rafa had made mention of the crowd's waning support in his post-match presser after the loss saying,

Maybe at one stage they supported Soderling more than me, and that was a bit sad.

But I wish when I'm back they can support me a bit more in key moments.

Boy, Uncle Toni just ripped them a new one - a deservedly so. I understand getting excited for the underdog but you can also support the 4-time defending champ.

It's not a one way street's about appreciating great tennis.

(image via google)

Monday, June 1, 2009

PHOTO OP: Heaven can't help you now JJ

A French fried Serbian Slide: First Nole, then NaturAna, and now Jelena Jankovic goes down in Paris 3-6, 6-0, 9-7 to Sorana Cirstea in the fourth round after serving for the match in the decider. Ick.

Of course, there was the usual drama of a JJ match - trainer calls, high kicks, towel dabbing - but in the end her fragile game and mind deserted her. The Serb was asked about these recent struggles and her current coaching situation in her post-match presser and she had an interesting response to the latter:

Q. You struggled a lot at the beginning of the season, and then it seems that it was much better, that you were improving maybe slowly, but you were improving. Do you think you are still far from your best, from the best you can do?

JELENA JANKOVIC: No, I need ‑‑ you know, I need my confidence back. I need this ‑‑ you know, when it's important points, important moment of the match, I need to, you know, go for my shots. I need to have that belief that they're going to go in.

But because I played quite poorly in the beginning of the year, my game was, you know, a catastrophe. It was really painful even to be on court. It's a little bit lack of confidence out there in the important moments, but hopefully this will change in the future.

I have to, you know, try to keep working and try to find my game for the, you know, for the future.

Q. Are you going to change your coach, or you're still working with your coach?

JELENA JANKOVIC: I don't know yet. I cannot tell you. You're asking me too much after the match. You know, I really don't know what I'm going to do.

Hmmm - she's clearly mulling over the idea of dumping her coach. I could see JJ doing it since her results have dipped dramatically this year. In any case, something needs to change.

(image: getty)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Rafa + NaturAna hit the skids, get unceremoniously booted from Paris

In a shock of all shocks in recent Grand Slam history, both defending champions at Roland Garros were knocked out of the tourney's fourth round today.

The biggest shock of 'em all came via Robin Soderling who played some uber-aggressive ball during his stunning 6-2 6-7(2) 6-4 7-6(2) upset of Rafael Nadal. It was Rafa's first loss ever in Paris and was denied a record-setting fifth consecutive crown. The stats told the tale: the Swede hit 61 winners to 33 for Rafa, hit 9 aces, converted on 5 of 6 break chances, and had a 77% success rate up at net.

Seriously, this is Roger Federer's golden egg (read: First French Open, Career Slam, Pete Sampras-tying 14th major) to win or lose with both Rafa + Nole out. He may never get this kind of opportunity again. And would it be the same win even if Fed didn't have to defeat Rafa for the title? HELL YEAH. A win's a win. But really, no pressure.

Ana Ivanovic seemed to be rounding into solid form having lost only 6 games in her last 2 matches. But her shaky confidence, as evidenced by the return of her wayward service toss, was exposed by Victoria Azarenka who was the more aggressive baller on-court. The Belarusian earned an easy 6-2, 6-3 win and inflicted another early exit from a Grand Slam on the Serb.

In fact, the last time NaturAna made it past the fourth round of any major was during her championship run in Paris last year. I'm getting visions of a Svetlana Kuznetsova career moment here. Not a good sign.

(images: getty)

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